The European Union (EU) Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Várhelyi will make his first trip to Egypt on 24 and 25 October 2021, the EU revealed in a statement.
He is expected to take part in the Cairo Water Week, the most important annual event on water issues in the region.
The visit provides an opportunity to meet with government ministers, the business community and civil society to highlight the importance the EU places in the EU-Egypt partnership.
Commissioner Várhelyi will underline some of the many topics of mutual interest, such as climate and environment, circular economy and clean energy transition, healthcare, digital economy, and migration, on which the EU and Egypt can reinforce their partnership while working to ensure an investment-friendly environment and inclusive economic growth, and with due regard to human rights. The EU and Egypt are close neighbours and strategic partners with a long history of friendship. The stability and prosperity of the population of Egypt is a shared interest.
This is reflected in the cooperation of the EU, its Member States and the European Financial Institutions with Egypt over the last ten years – with an active portfolio of €11bn in grants, loans and investments to assist Egypt across all sectors.
Examples of such concrete cooperation bringing tangible benefits to citizens include the provision of drinking water, the treatment of wastewater and solid waste, improved irrigation for farmers, the development of public transport such as the Cairo metro and Alexandria tram line.
Also, cooperation focuses on the development of wind and solar energy, the reduction of pollution, improved access to finance including for women and youth, support for the development of the private sector and improved provision of education at all levels particularly vocational education.
The Commissioner explained the EU is now working on new cooperation instruments. With the aid of the European Fund for Sustainable Development, these funds are expected to leverage over four times this amount in investments from the private and public sector including European Financing Institutions.
EU Member States and Egypt face a shared challenge in the fight against the COVID pandemic. The EU has taken a leading role as one of the main supporters of the COVAX facility and the Commissioner renewed the EU commitment to support the Egyptian COVID response and lessen the impact of the pandemic in everyday life including delivering vaccines through COVAX by Team Europe.
While in Cairo, Várhelyi will address the Cairo Water week and will meet with Egypt’s Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdel Atty.
According to the statement, the Cairo Water Week is a tangible example of the successful EU-Egypt partnership.
“We stand at a pivotal moment in the fight against the climate crisis and called on Egypt and on all countries to make the COP26 in November a success by ensuring enhanced ambition,” Várhelyi noted.